Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fishscale art and Hair

Cara Grandle here.

When it comes to historical fiction, most of the heroines are cameoed doing some sort of domestic fine art. Depending on the time period and the level of income, the crafts they did changed.

How often have you read about a lady in a drawing room doing needlepoint, watercolor or playing the piano forte? Or if your favorite book is set on the frontier, the lady of the house would’ve been candle-making, darning a sock, or making soap.

These sorts of hobbies and crafts are traditional and normal, but have you ever heard of a heroine sitting around doing fishscale art?

Here is what it looks like:

The ladies or their servants harvested the scales off of certain kinds of fish, cleaned them, dried them and sometimes dyed them, before they poke two fine holes at the base of the scale and then added it to their stitch work.

And now we have the original sequin.

And how about this? Have you seen samples of hair art in Museums or in old photos?

Women would gather the hair that they naturally shed or brushed out and they would twirl it around the tip of their index finger and place it in this little jar to be used as thread for a craft called hair art.

They would give their work to their friends and family as engagements, weddings, births, or bereavements gifts as keepsakes for any kind of special occasion.

Both hobbies should get the “Most Impressive” award for upcycling.

The one heart-warming detail about hair art, for me, is I can remember my Great Grandmother’s habit of twirling a loose hair or thread around her finger in just such a way, and now I know why.

As much as I find these two crafts interesting, I equally find them a little eeeewww! I wonder if the fishscale art smelled and I can’t help think about the hair as dead cells.

I’m assuming this is my bizarre reaction, but I figured I’d ask. What do you think of these handcrafts? Would you want fishscale on the hem of your dress or on the side of your purse? And how about hair art? Would you hang one proudly on your wall?

CaraGrandle is a Historical Romance Novelist who prefers to write about the early settlers of the Pacific Northwest. She is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Cara leads the author4TheAuthor writers group on Facebook, home to 190 writers. Together they're pressing back on busy and making a space for their dreams. Cara hosts a Writers Encouragement show weekly on Periscope. The show is on Tuesday mornings at 9:00am PST. Cara's Periscope show includes live, interactive author-interviews with leading Christian fiction novelists, editors, publicist and agents under the handle @CaraGrandle.

Cara is currently out on submission. Follower her journey on her Facebook author page.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of either one of these art work back in the day. Pictures are beautiful, buty I wonder about the smell of the scales, too. The hair designs would taken time and patience to have it just perfect in the design. Thank you for sharing new tidbits of the past.